Downtown Toronto stabbing escalated after dispute over liquor: witnesses

The victim of an early morning stabbing in downtown Toronto Sunday is being mourned by residents of a nearby shelter.

The man, who was in his fifties, was known as “Kenney”, several residents of the Strathcona Hotel told CTV News Toronto, saying that he no longer lived there but was visiting someone that night before both were swarmed by a group of inebriated passersby.

“They were sitting on a bench, sipping booze out of a mickey and having a cigarette,” said Ken Webber, who lives in the building.

He said he had talked to Kenney’s friend, who was sitting with him in a plaza northwest of the intersection of University Avenue and York Street.

She was in shock and described the attack as having begun when the passersby tried to take the alcohol from them, he said. Then, it escalated.

“I saw the aftermath of the attack. I saw six females probably in their late 20s, early 30s, standing outside the Union Station stairwell there, arguing, screaming and yelling,” Webber said.

Roberto Sanchez, who often holds the door open at a nearby Tim Hortons, said he remembered Kenney as a friendly person.

“He was friendly. He was generous. He was a kind-hearted person. Everyone has their issues. But all in all, I didn’t see him as a threat to no one,” said Roberto Sanchez, who often holds the door open at a nearby Tim Hortons.

“For those youths to do that to him — it’s heart-wrenching. I can’t believe it,” Sanchez said.

Very little information has come out about the attack, which happened just after midnight at a plaza on the northwest corner of the intersection of York Street and University Avenue.

Reports came in at 12:17 a.m. that a man had been stabbed. He was taken to hospital with serious injuries and pronounced dead.

Police confirmed early Sunday they had made some arrests, with multiple people coming to 52 Division, saying they don’t have any outstanding suspects.

The Toronto Police Service didn’t make anyone available to answer questions from the media, but said in an e-mail that homicide detectives had taken over the file and are hoping that any witnesses will come forward.

Webber told CTV News Toronto that he hopes people will give homeless people a break, especially as the winter is coming.

“We’re subject to a lot of violence. We get a lot of guff from people on the street. If we can give each other a break and we can have some empathy, that would be awesome,” he said.

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